Swift has been busy revamping its Elegance, Conqueror and Challenger ranges. It was time for the Challenger to receive an overhaul, and the designers of the caravan make have clearly given it a good shake-up. There are four models in the range. Three have fixed beds, while the fourth, which we’re reviewing here, is the Swift Challenger 480 SE, our winner of the best caravan under £30,000 at the Practical Caravan Awards 2023.
The ‘SE’ tag means you get extra spec at a special price. The traditional end-washroom layout for couples on tour remains hugely popular, and the new model looks like a promising addition to the market, although if you’re after a pre-owned version, see what we made of the 2014 Swift Challenger 480 SE.
Pitch and set-up
The Challenger’s profile has been totally overhauled, and it looks superb, with its GRP front and moulded rear panels.
It comes with four sturdy grab handles and there are Thule bike rack fixing points at the back. The sides are also in GRP, while the Al-Ko chassis has heavy-duty corner steadies plus an AKS hitch and ATC.
There’s a large front gas locker and all of the service outlets are on the offside. The new-look graphics and alloy wheels add to the general air of caravan chic.
A 100W solar panel is fitted as standard, as is a Status TV aerial, and an external mains, shower and barbecue point.
There is a handy external wet locker, but the absence of a stable-type door could be a minus point for some buyers, who might expect to find that kind of door on an upmarket tourer in this price band.
Lounge in the Swift Challenger 480 SE
The lounge offers plenty of comfortable space for two, with twin settees that will seat up to six. Although the 480 is actually 7ft 6in wide, it feels broader.
The seating is supportive and comes with corner bolster cushions and plush scatter cushions. The large sunroof lets daylight flood in, and night-time lighting is well placed. Radio speakers are in the ceiling, while a mains socket is easy to access.
Swift has done away with side curtains, though, and instead has padded panels.
Kitchen in the Swift Challenger 480 SE
The side kitchen provides a separate oven and grill, with a four-burner dual-fuel hob. There’s a flush-fitting microwave between the overhead lockers, and you also get a large sink and a sizeable pull-out flap to extend the worktop. There are two mains sockets located here, too.
LED lighting keeps the area well lit at night, and Swift has included an extractor fan, not just a roof vent. The slimline Dometic fridge/freezer sits nearby.
Should you require more work surface, there is a large dresser just opposite, with more handily placed mains sockets.
Beds in the Swift Challenger 480 SE
At bedtime, you have two options in the 480. You can simply use the lounge settees as twin single beds. However, if you prefer a double, you will need to pull out the slats from the central chest of drawers to fill the gap. Slats are fine, but they do feel a bit flimsy. Personally, we would prefer a pull-out section from each side, which would make converting the bed easier. But it is a large double, and you can easily turn over the base cushions. That should give you a good night’s sleep.
Washroom in the Swift Challenger 480 SE
The rear washroom is hugely appealing. There’s a Thetford toilet, and a deep handbasin with a large mirror above and storage space underneath.
Swift has omitted a window here, and instead fitted some shelving where the window would normally be, which does rather limit the light in this area. There is a roof vent, but unlike a window, this can’t be left open when it rains.
The shower cubicle is more than large enough and will be easy to use. But there’s no separate roof vent in here, so ventilation might become a bit problematic.
Storage in the Swift Challenger 480 SE
The Challenger has plenty of storage for couples on tour. The rear washroom offers a wardrobe with hanging space, and two built-in shelves. There is storage beneath the handbasin, as well as shelving on the wall. The kitchen provides ample storage in the dresser opposite, three cupboards and the overhead lockers.
In addition, you have smart overhead lockers in the lounge and a central chest of drawers. The underseat storage, which can easily be reached through access flaps, and the large gas locker mean the Challenger scores well here.
Swift has brought the Challenger to exactly where it should be for 2023. For couples, this tourer offers plenty, and despite prices for everything continuing to rise, the 480 is still excellent value for money. It should be a favourite for buyers who are looking for a traditional rear-washroom layout.
The new interior improves on previous versions, while the exterior styling is up to the usual high standards you’d expect from Swift – there’s a reason this tourer made it onto our best caravan round up. The ample storage and the spec are impressive. Our only minor niggle is the lack of a window in the washroom.
- Take a look at our guide to the different types of caravan to find out about the various styles on the market.
Things we like:
- Practical kitchen, updated interior, extractor fan, spacious lounge, excellent storage
Things we don’t like:
- No washroom window, roof vent in shower cubicle, or stable door
- Price: £28,795
- Berths: 2
- MiRO: 1308kg
- Payload: 127kg
- MTPLM: 1435kg
- Shipping length: 6.66m
- Interior length: 4.95m
- Overall width: 2.28m
- Front double bed: 2.02 x 1.86m
Nearside single: 1.96 x 0.72m
Offside single: 1.86 x 0.72m
- Alde heating
- Thetford oven
- Dometic fridge
- Status TV aerial
- Al-Ko receiver
- External barbecue point, mains socket and shower
- Awning light
- Solar panel
Or you could try…
- Swift Fairway Classic Compact 360: this 2022 special edition has turned what was a basic van into a much more appealing prospect.
- Caretta Calypso 4: moving from a tent to a tourer? Then this could be the van for you.
- Adria Altea Dart: this four berth has been upgraded inside and out to create an impressive touring vehicle
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